The origin of the University in the Apulia Region dates back to 1581, when the “Collegio della Compagnia del Gesù” (i.e. the Jesuits) started an University degree focused on Philosophy and Humanistic Sciences in Bari.
At the beginning of the 18th Century, the new approach provided by the “Enlightenment” promoted studies on physical and natural sciences, which found their development in a new University in Altamura, a town around 45 kilometres southwest of Bari, where the curricula in Medicine, Law, Chemistry, and Botanics were activated. In 1772 the Royal College extended the University activities also to Bari, where the curricula in Law and Agriculture started. In 1814, Higher Education Schools (Licei) in Medicine, Law, Mathematic and Pharmacy were also established by Gioacchino Murat. With the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (1861), some of these Schools were suppressed, whereas other Schools were moved to Naples. However, at the same time, the local administrators promoted and sustained the University in Bari and financed the construction of the “Atheneum” edifice, which started on March 14th, 1867, and ended on December 28th, 1889.
Anyway, the Royal University of Bari was officially founded only on October 9th, 1924, and the courses started on December 1st, 1924. The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, based on the former School of Obstetrics, and the Faculty of Pharmacy, based on the former School of Pharmacy, were the first to be established. Later, the Faculties of Law, Economy and Agriculture came. Since 1944, also the Faculties of Literature and Philosophy, Mathematic, Physic and Natural Sciences, Engineering, Education, Veterinary, Languages and Foreign Literature were activated.
At the end of the 80ies, Foggia and Taranto University centers started their activities as part of the University of Bari. Foggia included the Faculties of Law, Economy, Medicine, Literature and Agriculture, whereas the degree in Environmental Sciences, focused on the sea ecosystem, was developed in Taranto within the Faculty of Mathematic, Physic and Natural Sciences of the University of Bari. Contemporary, the Faculty of Architecture was established at the University of Bari.
The Polytechnic University of Bari was founded in 1990, when the well-established Faculty of Engineering and the newly-founded Faculty of Architecture, which at that time were both part of the University of Bari, were brought together.
The University of Foggia acquired its autonomy at the end of 90ies, whereas the University in Taranto is still depending on the University of Bari.
Currently, the University of Bari is entitled to Aldo Moro, is a High Education and research public body, covering all fields from basic to R&D, with about 50,000 enrolled students. It offers 58 Basic Science, 81 Master Science, 53 specialization and 16 PhD courses. It is one of the largest University in Italy and is composed of 24 Departments, 41 research and didactic centers and 2 schools (Sciences and Technologies, and Medicine). The University of Bari is the only shareholder of TECNOPOLIS PST (Scientific and Technological Park), is member of 6 productive and technological districts and more than 90 national and international consortia and associations (e.g., UNIMED, CUM, CONISMA, CUIA, APRE).
After the Italian University Reform (2010), Faculties have been suppressed. Currently the Dept. of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (DiSSPA) and the Dept. of Agro-Environmental and Territorial Sciences (DiSAAT) jointly take care of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education in all agriculture, forestry and food technology fields. They propose study programs focusing on basic, applied and developmental studies, and on innovation transfer to the productive sectors.